Final CA Budget Cuts Gas Tax Increase, Still Nothing for Transit

2_19_09_gov_and_car.jpgGovernor Schwarzenegger Prepares to Address His Constituents via Calcars.org

Proving that a lone State Senator can wield a lot of influence when a single vote decides the state of the budget, GOP Sen. Abel Maldonado cast the last needed vote in the State Senate to pass the new state budget for the next 16 months.  Maldanado, a long-supporter of Open-Primary elections, got a concession from Democratic lawmakers that would change the way elections are conducted provided it receives the support of voters in the next election.

In other words, the passage of the budget was so important to legislative leaders, they were willing to shake-up the electoral system that put them in office in the first place.  And yet…not one legislature from Los Angeles or any other metropolis was willing to stand up for transit operating funds.  As we’ve already discussed, the new budget reduces the state operations subsidy for transit to $0 for the foreseeable future, which could force Metro to cut up to 160,000 hours of bus service

Streetsblog will keep an eye on what legislators show up at the inevitable service cut hearings to complain about bus cuts in their area.

To add insult to injury, the state did come through to protect gas prices as best they can.  The proposed twelve cent a gallon gas tax was removed from the final budget, with corresponding cuts promised in the prison budget.  Another typical message from Sacramento and our Greenhouse Gas hating Governor, keep the gas tax low and force transit agencies to raise fares and cut service.  The total gas tax increase that would have saved the operating subsidy would be less than half a cent increase per gallon.

Lest anyone accuse me of being too harsh on the Governor’s demagogery on Greenhouse Gas, the state also postponed a ruling that would have required retrofitting some industrial vehicles to reduce their emissions.  As Mary Nichols, head of the state’s Air Resource Board, told the Times, "There are people who will die because of this delay."

But at least they’ll save some money on gas.

  • AUGH! The loss of the gas tax galls me beyond (publicly acceptable) words.

  • The only good thing I thought might come out of the budget resolution was the 12 cent per gallon gas tax increase. Now that has been eliminated. Ridiculous. We should raise that gas tax even if we’re NOT in a financial crisis. Even if people decided they hate transit, an increased gas tax would at least help pay for road maintanence and give transit a better chance at competing to get it’s own funds instead of playing second fiddle to highway funds.

    Well, it sounds like vehicle licensing fees will still double. . . so one could argue that would discourage driving and encourage transit use for some. . . but that’s not as effective as a gas tax increase. Those who can’t afford a higher vehicle license fee probably already don’t have a car and are using transit (not by choice). What this state (especially SoCal) needs are people who HAVE cars to be encouraged to not drive as much and take transit instead. The vehicle license fee increase will only do that if someone decides not to buy a car. It doesn’t make a difference if you already own one.

  • So disapointing. Gas tax was the only good thing I was expecting out of the budget deal. Regressive taxes on everyone like income taxes and sales taxes are okay, but taxing gas, something our state uses too much of anyways, and not everyone needs, we can’t tax that. The whole state legislture is a mess, I say we have a special election, no incumbants allowed, do over, they have failed us and deserve their power no longer, Republicans and Democrats alike.

  • More goodness from the “green governor.” Total Retard.

  • tyt

    The theory is that if you have the top two candidates, in an extremely republican or democratic district, the election won’t be decided at the primaries like it is today. it will force the parties to run less partisan democrats/republicans in the primaries.

    http://www.caivp.org/issues/non-partisan-primary/2008/10/11/non-partisan-primary-initiative

  • Charlie Peters

    Should California consider a fee on corn fuel ethanol use?

    * * Lower price for food, gas, water, beer, cleaner air and funds for the budget from oil profit.

  • What are we missing?

    This summer when gas was over $4 per gallon there was far less traffic congestion, and there were far more transit riders. If gas prices are high, we’ll use less fuel, our roads won’t need as much maintenance, and public transit projects will be supported by the public.

    If no politicians in California realize this, then I agree, we need a whole new batch of legislators.

  • da

    Wow! That picture really says it all…

  • If there exists no state-wide voting block for transit funding AND OPPOSED TO AUTO ENTITLEMENTS then there can be no progress for transit.

    Sacramento politicians cut bus and train service but treat every road project like the family jewels.

    Wake up! Go after car money! Screw this get-along-to-go-along b.s.

  • pesach kremen

    We need to immediate require that all auto subsidies are eliminated. Free parking by landlords, merchants, amd emplyers must be prohinited unless matched by an equivalnet benefit for transit users, bicylcists, and walkers. if you use a business that gives free parking but no equivalent to non auto users, let them know by filling out comment cards, visiting customer service, and complaining that you want equality. When you call a business ask for transit directions and if they can only give driving directions ask them to stop being discriminatory. I did not join the Sierra club because they give driving directions in san diego but do not give transit directions.

  • truth check

    You are all just a bunch of whiny girls. If you cant have your way, then you want to inconvenience everyone else with your sissy complaints.